Acute and Chronic Sinusitis: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Sinusitis is a condition wherein the sinuses’ tissue lining are inflamed or swollen. Normal sinuses are filled with air. But when the sinuses are infected, it could fill with fluid and bacterial, viral, or fungal germs and this causes blockage along with irritation.

Allergic rhinitis, common cold, and nasal polyps or growths in the lining of the nose and a deviated septum could also cause blockage in the sinus. There are different types of sinuses; they are acute, sub-acute, chronic, and recurrent sinusitis.

Acute Sinusitis: Comes with symptoms similar to common cold including facial pain and stuffy nose that do not go away on its own for more than ten days.
Sub-Acute Sinusitis: The sinuses are inflamed for up to 8 weeks.
Chronic Sinusitis: Severe inflammation and irritation of the sinuses that last longer than 8 weeks. Recurrent Sinusitis: As the name implies, recurrent sinusitis attacks happen several times within a year.

Apart from a having a weak immune system and blockages that irritate the sinuses, people who are prone to common colds are susceptible to this condition.

Signs and Symptoms of Sinusitis

Most times, sinusitis is hard to tell apart from allergic rhinitis and common cold because the symptoms are similar. The primary symptoms of sinusitis include facial pain, nasal discharge, loss of smell, cough and chest congestion, as well as bad breath, dental pain, fatigue, and nasal stuffiness.

In order to diagnose sinusitis, you need to have yourself checked by your doctor. Your doctor will conduct a physical exam that includes pressing the sinuses for pain or swelling or even tap your teeth to check for inflamed para-nasal sinus.

Treatment for Sinusitis

The treatment for this condition will depend on the severity of the symptoms. For acute sinusitis, you will be prescribed with decongestants and medication administered through steam inhalation. Nasal drops or nasal sprays are common medication for acute sinusitis. However, these types of drugs should only be taken for five days. If you were prescribed with antibiotics, you will take it for ten to fourteen days.

For chronic sinusitis, you will need warm, moist air to bring down the swelling. You will be advised to use a vaporizer or inhale steam from a pot of boiling water to remove nasal decongestion. Saline drops or warm compresses also help minimize the inflammation. Your doctor could also prescribe antibiotics or oral steroids.

Home Treatments

When it comes to alleviating nasal pain and preventing sinusitis in general, the best treatment is a combination of home remedies and prescribed medication. Apart from inhaling steam from a pot of boiling water and applying warm compresses, you could also flush out your sinuses using saltwater.

Nasal irrigation will help remove blockages from your sinuses while keeping them moist. There are different ways to flush out your sinuses; you can use neti pots or bulb syringes. Just make sure that all the equipment you use to conduct nasal irrigation is sterile. Finally, keep yourself hydrated to thin out the mucus, making it easier to expel.


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